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The State Of The World ~ October 2017

Posted in From The Editor's Perspective, and World Affairs

I delayed my customary Editor’s Perspective because so much was going on in the world it was hard to pinpoint where the main focus was. Sadly, nothing new is happening in the White House in Washington D.C. though, except the same old thing where #45 says something that was incorrect and upsets people with his insensitivity. He was filmed throwing paper towels out to residents in Puerto Rico who had lost their homes due to the hurricanes, and accused a war widow of lying (Myeshia Johnson, whose husband La David died in the line of duty) when he was quoted as saying, “That’s what he signed up for,” on the customary call from a president to a fallen soldier’s family. No one disputes he said it, but it was the tone used, and also the fact it just isn’t what you say to someone when they are grieving. That’s just common sense and people who defend #45 need to look beyond what he said which was a fact, but also an inappropriate comment. It’s like saying to a victim of domestic violence, “Well you married them,” because diplomacy is necessary when people are victims.

Four US soldiers died in Niger and questions will be raised as to their mission and why there was no back up and the credibility of the intelligence. First of all, people were upset and offended when #45 claimed former presidents had failed to call the families of the fallen as he had when it wasn’t true. It led to the representatives of the last two presidents to make a statement to refute that claim, and those who had received letters to publish them on social media. Part of me wanted #45 not to mess this up, and when I saw one of the fallen was black, I hoped he wouldn’t make a big thing out of it and get his name right at least. Somehow because the soldier had an unusual name, he didn’t get it right, and when questioned he still couldn’t remember the surname and used a generic term, ‘the woman…the widow…’ which all could see is what people say when they don’t have a clue.

For her part, Myeshia Johnson remained silent, and only when a Facebook account making a statement that defended #45 that was fake get highlighted did she feel compelled to appear on national television to tell the world it was not fake news, what was actually said, how she felt, and what actually transpired. Some claim the Congress woman Frederica Wilson had misheard the conversation, but in her own words, Myeshia Johnson confirmed she has been a family friend for a number of years and the conversation was on speakerphone with her permission for all in the vehicle at the time to hear, and that Wilson was correct and had not fabricated the version of events. The focus should be on supporting a grieving widow and not trying to score political points here, and hopefully those who defend #45 can see that. Maybe it’s too late for them to learn what it is to be humane?

Back in Europe, the Catalan region in Spain has been fighting for independence again. It’s a little like Scotland wanting to break from the UK except Catalan is wealthy and had autonomy. The problem is Madrid isn’t that happy about what they call an illegal referendum and the police attacked voters and smashed their way into what they deemed illegal polling stations. This angered those who wanted their voice heard, and now Madrid is enacting Article 155 of its Constitution to impose direct rule. I can only see this will lead to resentment and more protests. While many do want to keep a united Spain, the fact is if the region wasn’t as wealthy as it is with Barcelona a major tourist city and  home to one of the best football teams in the world (Barça), and the popular holiday coastline of the Costa Brava, would Madrid be so worried? What if Catalan was a poor region where they had to subsidize heavily, would they be taking this action?

Meanwhile Brexit is still a sore topic. There are some who  (foolishly) still feel that another referendum can happen, or that Brexit won’t. The fact is Article 50 has been triggered and that the decision has been made to leave the EU, not Europe. Again, if the UK wasn’t a major contributor to the EU budget would the other 27 countries be making life so difficult? If it was a smaller country, say Latvia, do you think there would be stalled negotiations and refusals to discuss things? One doesn’t hand over the money asked without getting something in return; that’s what a negotiation is, therefore there needs to be give and take. Businesses maybe scaremongering saying jobs are at stake, but what they mean is their profit margins and their costs.

On another note, MEPs are declaring a proposal to have all EU citizens be registered if they wish to remain in the UK to be illegal. I’m not sure why they think that because in Italy if you are in an area for more than 90 days you are supposed to register with the Carabineri. I say supposed to, as that is the law and is recommended, but people only do so if they are going to be in a region for a period of time. In an era where terrorists are slipping in and out of countries surely it makes sense? Just as immigrants must register and be documented, so should EU citizens who choose to reside in the UK. The argument that UK citizens should do is moot, mainly because the majority that are born here are registered through their birth certificate and NI number, and those born overseas will have a passport, again another official document registering them. When EU citizens have no record in the UK it makes it difficult to plan for local infrastructure (look at the burden it has created for the NHS and social housing), therefore is a sensible option, and what are they trying to hide if they don’t wish to register?

The concerns over North Korea grow stronger, and other countries in the UN are trying to keep the peace. Then out of the blue, the WHO decided to name Robert Mugabe a goodwill envoy. Many thought it was a joke as Mugabe is a dictator and Zimbabwe has sanctions against it from EU countries (since 2002) and also the USA. Both the UK and USA made public declarations of their disappointment in the announcement, and the WHO said they would reconsider the matter. Within 24 hours the position was revoked, but the problem is who nominated and decided on the matter? Any credibility the WHO had has been diminished, and who can take them seriously when they nominate a cruel dictator to be a symbol of goodwill?

Currently the world is a place where there are conflicts and wars that don’t seem to have any foreseeable resolution. How long can ISIS continue—until all followers are all killed, but they radicalize more to replace them? In Syria, will the conflict end if the president steps down or dies? However, we must look beyond this and carry on living and help others as and when we can, because that is how humanity survives. Soon it will be Christmas, a time to give to others, and to remember those less fortunate than ourselves. I loathe how some companies use the term ‘holidays’ instead when it’s clearly Christmas they are referring to but do so to appear PC to other religions. Why should we avoid using the word Christmas, should carol singers not sing in public in case it offends, and should children be deprived of a Christmas tree at school and a visit from Santa because a child’s parent maybe offended because there are some who don’t approve? Religion is a taboo topic and the root cause of many wars. One should never take for granted the right to choose their religion, yet it appears over the course of time it will remain an area of conflict.

My philosophy is simple—to treat others with respect regardless of creed, race, education, or wealth, and that goes for their beliefs too. You may not agree with everyones beliefs or like them, but each of us should respect that we all have a right to them as long as they do not harm others. Will Catalan achieve independence? I feel they have made steps towards this, but it will cause a rift in Spain and right now the infrastructure isn’t in place. Can the EU and the UK sort out an amicable Brexit deal? I see the EU ministers changing their tune from hoping Brexit wouldn’t happen, to realizing by not supporting a deal and negotiating their own careers maybe over, and the UK really won’t give the EU anymore money than they have to. Finally, I hope WWIII doesn’t start, but wars have arisen with dictators with less power than the ones that have control now. It was heartening to see all five former presidents of the USA united together for a fundraiser for the victims of the recent hurricanes. This was a message more than anything that the current administration does not embody the spirit of America and that one can put politics aside in times of need for the greater good.

Just as I was about to click ‘publish’ two Republican Senators (Bob Corker and Jeff Flake) have spoken up about the disturbing happenings in D.C. right now, and have announced they are stepping down and won’t run for re-election. While some may criticize them for jumping ship rather than to stay and fight, they are in fact telling the world and the public the truth and hopefully encouraging others to be brave and speak out. It’s too easy for others to judge, but perhaps it was a moral choice and not just a career choice they have made. How many others are considering the same move? Others maybe looking at other careers options before they make the move, because they too need a job and being a public figure it’s not so easy to find alternative employment. Lawyers can always go back and work in a firm, others consult, or set up their own businesses, so it’s not a case of giving a months notice for those in Congress. The world and most importantly American citizens needed to hear the words of these Senators who like many were convinced to give #45 a chance. It comes to a point when you give anyone a chance, when they are making things worse you simply have to stop them. That goes for anything in life—a relationship, a job, or your choice of studies. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and that’s when you have to cut your losses and admit that things didn’t work out. Intelligent folks are those who are brave enough to hold up their hands to say they made a mistake—it’s normal, human and okay because we aren’t robots or AI.

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